Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jersey Bagels...Kind of

My husband is from New Jersey and he's in love with the food of his home state.  No one makes the same gravy (marinara sauce), pizza or bagels like the Garden State.  And he is right about that.  In the two years I lived there, I grew to love food in a way that I never had before.  We would spend Sunday mornings with the newspaper, strong cups of coffee and bagel sandwiches that oozed melted cheese, Taylor Ham and fried egg between a chewy bagel.  Alas, we live in Florida and those mornings are long behind us.  But the quest for the perfect bagel is not.

My friend shared a recipe with me from a blog called Memories from Clover Lane.  The blog author generally writes about life as a mother and I was surprised that she had a bagel recipe on her site.  After I tried them at my friend's house, I knew the recipe was a winner.  But my husband wasn't convinced.

"It's the water that makes the difference," he told me as I relayed details of this perfectly chewy bagel.  "It won't be as good without the water."  But the food gods were with us when we found bottled Brooklyn water during a visit to his parent's house.  (They sell it at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Company and it really and truly is bottled Brooklyn water.)  We were ready.

I got my bread machine out and carefully measured all the ingredients.  The dough was ready a few hours later and as I pulled the warm thick dough out of the bread machine, I heard two little voices.  "Help!  Mama, Help!" my youngest yelled as he yanked on the butt of my jeans.  "Oh I want to help, too!" my oldest said running for the cooking stool.  I froze for a minute.  These bagels were a gift to my husband.  These bagels had to be perfect.  Little boys hands beating this dough to oblivion would not make for a good batch of bagels.  I fought the urge to build a force field around my dough and grabbed a few chunks for them to make their own bagels.  The rest, I thought, will be protected.

My little one grabbed his pile of dough, threw it at me then lunged at the big pile.  "Mine!" he said as his little hands plunged into the perfectly fluffy pile.  "No No, honey," I said through gritted teeth.  "This is yours.  The big one is Mommy's."  This did not elicit a positive response.  He threw his head back wailing and my husband/night in shining armor swooped in and got him out of the room.  That left one little man to contend with.

I wasn't quite sure how to shape the dough so I was making balls then squishing them flat.  I have circle cookie cutters so I was using the smallest one to make the hole in the middle.  My oldest loved the circle cookie cutters and pushed his dough in a big wad up through the hole.  "Watcha doing, bud?" I asked feeling my need to control creeping through.  "I'm making the dough explode through the hole like a giant smoke stack!" he explained.  Appreciating his creativity, we forged ahead and ended up with funny looking but absolutely delicious bagels.

It's always hard for me to let go of my way of doing things.  It's always hard to see that sometimes creativity trumps perfection.  I have to constantly remind myself to give them some leeway with things that don't matter much to me.  That tiny piece of dough helped to spark his imagination and it didn't affect how our bagels turned out in the end.  I will try to remember this the next time I want to build a force field around my projects.

How do you handle it when your kids want to help?  Do you let them?  Why or why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...